Hospitality Business Magazine

Airspresso Queenstown takes flight

Coffee specialist Craig Macfarlane and popular TV weatherman Jim Hickey have transformed the mundane into the magnificent with the arrival of their winning Airspresso brand at Queenstown Airport.

The old airport cafe, which commands spectacular mountain views, has been gutted and reconstructed into a coffee and food-lover’s haven.

Part of the Airspresso Queenstown crew: Justin Bird, Craig Macfarlane and Jim Hickey.

Part of the Airspresso Queenstown crew: Justin Bird, Craig Macfarlane and Jim Hickey.

“There has been a huge amount of interest in this café, because it’s a totally different food and beverage offering. Everything is made fresh and sourced locally. Even the fruit for our Juice Bar is grown in Central Otago,” says Hickey.

Hickey and Macfarlane already co-own Queenstown’s successful Joe’s Garage cafe with managing shareholders, Karyn Grant, Justin Bird and his wife, Birthe ‘B’ Svendheim. Bird and Svendheim have now also taken the controls at Airspresso, Queenstown, where up to 20 staff, including chefs and bakers, focus on producing artisan food, specialist coffee, boutique beverages and providing top Central Otago wines. Macfarlane and Hickey established Airspresso New Plymouth several years ago at the New Plymouth airport.

But it’s not just the food, coffee and drinks that have been drawing the crowds in Queenstown. Similar to its older sibling, the new Airspresso has its own heritage aviation ambience, complete with an open fire and locally-sourced taxidermy – deer, chamois and thar – hanging above the fire.

“We’ve tried to create an aviation ambience showcasing Central Otago’s famous adventure flying and its aviation heroes. A lot of time and investment has gone into this,” says Hickey, a keen pilot.

Macfarlane is confident the Airspresso model and brand will bring a whole new flavour to Queenstown’s café scene. “Jim has that aviation understanding and profile, and hospitality’s what I’ve come to know and love.”

A feature on Craig Macfarlane’s coffee career in New Zealand and London will feature in the August issue of Hospitality Business. Subscribe for your copy now on